According to the NAMB website, the North American Mission Board currently pulls its church planting data from the Annual Church Profile. Unfortunately, this results in untimely and incomplete information. For example, in March of 2015, the most recent data available was from 2013—an unacceptable lag of two full years. Additionally, the notion that our church plants should merely report the same basic information that our established churches report is simply false. These plants do not have church status yet as they are being financially supported by the Southern Baptist Convention. As we examine our investment, we have the right to expect a greater amount of information.
In 2010, 943 churches were planted. Three years later, 80% were still functioning. While that is not a bad rate of survival, we should not have had to wait until 2015 to obtain this data. Right now, we should be able to compare 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. We should be able to track data in an ongoing manner with mandatory annual reporting by church plants to NAMB. If a church plant fails to report, they should lose their funding. Continue reading
Overseas baptisms for 2015 dropped to 54,762 from the 190,957 reported for 2014, according to information submitted by the International Mission Board in response to a request by the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee. Likewise, the number of new churches fell from 13,824 to 3,842 over the same one-year period. Continue reading
Congregational Polity – that form of church governance wherein the general membership of the church participates in governance by voting.
Suppose First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, Mississippi, gave one million dollars to the Southern Baptist Convention and that the Convention accepted this generous gift. Subsequently, First Presbyterian Jackson asked to cooperate officially with the Convention so that her members could be sent as messengers to the SBC and could serve as committee members or trustees within the SBC. Should the Convention receive First Presbyterian Jackson as a cooperating church and entitle her to messengership and service because of her financial gift to the Convention’s work? Continue reading